The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority voted 4-1 to approve a new budget in early April that will raise public transit fares by an overall 23 percent starting July 1.
According to the MBTA – which operates bus, subway, commuter rail and ferry services in the Boston metropolitan area – the fare increases were necessary in order to help close a $185 million gap in next year’s budget.
The new plan increases most bus fares by 25 cents, subway fares by 30 cents and commuter rail tickets by an average of 29 percent. These changes will increase the cost of commuter rail tickets between Providence and Boston.
“We understand that even these moderate changes we are proposing today will have a significant impact on some of our customers, and we appreciate that,” wrote Richard A. Davey, Secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and Jonathan Davis, acting general manager of MBTA, in an open letter to MBTA customers March 28. “But we have an obligation to balance our books and to be honest with each of you about the cost of service.”
MBTA officials considered proposals that would have increased fares by a larger percentage and cut weekend and late-night service between Providence and Boston, but they ultimately settled on a less severe option that will not fully alleviate the organization’s budget deficit.
Critics of the fare increases have argued that the Massachusetts legislature should have intervened in the MBTA budget to prevent the fare increases.
Steve Damiano ’12 travels to Boston twice a week for an internship. For his trips, Damiano takes the commuter train from Providence to South Station before boarding the Red Line to Cambridge. “The fees seem like they will only convince more people not to use public transportation and to drive in to work instead,” Damiano said. “If I was still in high school and had a similar internship opportunity in Boston, I might have second thoughts about taking it due to the increased cost of the monthly pass.”